The Words We Speak
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight,
O lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
My dad called last weekend and not being a man for idle phone chats, I knew something was up.“Is it Mammaw? Did Mammaw die?” (Anytime my dad calls or anytime I can’t get a hold of my parents, you know, at the very instant that I want to talk to them, then I always assume that my Mammaw is dead.)
But she’s not. She’s 98 and will likely make it to 108. I think my dad should start texting me first. Something along the lines of, “OK, I’m going to call you now, but just so you know Mammaw’s all good.”
Anyway, he called and I know that it breaks his heart to see my broken heart and he just wants this to be over for me; for all of us, but I think he worries that some people, some less-than-honorable (and oh, I don’t know this is a totally random example but maybe say someone’s attorney) might try to twist my words and make my blog into something that it isn’t and in his own way, my Dad reminded me that our words matter.
And it struck me. Reading my blog is hard work if you’re the dad. It’s hard work if you’re the mom who was right all along. Because here’s the thing; they aren’t used to way-too-honest, little-bit-angry, Myra Katherine. In my family, I’m the sweet one. I’m happy, glass spilling over, peace-maker of the family, sweet. I think my parents pushed for sweet when they realized I wasn’t going to be as smart as my sister or as charismatic as my brother. And I’m good at sweet. I love on babies and I hug children (even dirty, smelly ones) and say things like “Bless her heart” and I don’t use bad language but somewhere along the way sweet turned into wall-flower and let me just say, I don’t like wall-flower girl.
Some days I just want to be the smart one; the one who finished her Ph.D. and has a chandelier hanging in her closet, not because there’s a chandelier but because before she got married she told her husband that she would never move above the mason-dixon line and I wonder, why didn’t I think of that? (Of course she also told him she doesn’t mow and he thought it was because she didn’t know how so he offered to teach her and at that point she made it clear, the difference between, “I won’t and I can’t.”
And she doesn’t. And while we’re on the subject, neither do I.
And some days I want to be the guy who travels all over the world with heads of state and rock stars turned philanthropist and not because I really want to do that, but because I just want to be the one who thinks of the right thing to say at the right time and not, you know, 10 minutes later. One time when my brother was first getting started in politics, he was on his phone and he said, “I don’t care how, just fix it cause if y’all don’t somebody’s gonna spend the rest of their life cuttin’ heads off chickens.” (If you’re from the midwest, re-read that last line using your best southern accent).
And they believed him.
I will always love on babies and hug smelly children and be the one whose lap is always open for as many kiddos that it can hold and I don’t want to lose my cup runneth over spirit because that’s who I am, but maybe; just maybe I can have all of that and still find the courage to say what I’m thinking and today I’m thinking that if he doesn’t quit putting his dirty socks and underwear in my laundry that I’m freakin’ gonna lose it, and by lose it I mean that I will say, in my sweetest Miss America voice, WASH YOUR OWN DAMN LAUNDRY. (And whatever, please don’t send me an email reminding me that I wasn’t Miss America. Trust me, I still have the voice).
But yes, Lord, I am listening and this I know, our words matter.
Last week it was my dad and today from a friend. I open my inbox and there are beautiful words that I needed to hear and at just the moment I needed to hear them. Sometimes God just shows off, right? I mean I am so in awe of how He uses our friends and our family and sometimes even perfect strangers to speak right. to. our. hearts and how He inspires even the words of this tiny little blog; how he uses the humble and the contrite and, yes, the broken hearted.
Our words matter and for those of you who are so precious to read raising magnolias, I want you to know that I choose them carefully.